The Ups and Downs of Group Projects

Though our group action project may not have been as grand or life-changing as we may have hoped for in the beginning, it was a (small) step in the right direction towards a conversation about food workers and their treatment. Alec, Katie, Shelby, Elena, and I had initially set out to make something of a mini-doc, and in honest reflection, that was far too great of a feat for us in such a short amount of time. What we eventually came out with was a blog, which showcased some grocery clerks, baristas, and farmers (among others) from the Seattle area. And although we didn’t get to make the mini-doc or do as much extensive research as we had initially anticipated, I think that the blog still helped us make sense of a lot of the material that we had learned in class.

The first (and hardest) step of this project was coming up with an idea. We had a couple of meeting sessions where we would just bounce ideas off of each other and nothing seemed to stick. It was hard to come up with an effective way to bring attention to this subject in such a short amount of time. Eventually, someone suggested a mini-doc and it seemed to fit perfectly with what we were trying to do. So, we set out emailing everyone we could think of: farmers, clerks, baristas, food workers’ alliances, advocates for food workers, the list didn’t seem to end. We were all pretty stoked and knew that this had the potential to be really insightful.

Ultimately, many of the people and organizations that we reached out to were unavailable to coordinate and meet with us due to their own busy schedules and lists of commitments. With a far smaller list of interviewees than anticipated, we set off to find another way to make use of the footage we already had. We then realized that we could use the footage individually and publish each interview as its own entity, which would be accompanied by a short write-up synthesizing what is said in the video with what we were learning in class. This solution also helped us populate our blog with more posts, and is one that I personally think is more effective than the initial idea because people are able to browse the site freely and get more in-depth information about certain aspects of working the food industry.

I think this action project was a great way to learn what goes into carrying out a project because it showed us the constraints and challenges that often come along with completing a project. I know a lot of groups had similar issues with the time frame, as it was nearly impossible to design a project that would effectively enact change in such a short period of time. But, I also think that this project helped me evaluate what I was actually learning in the class and approach it from a real life standpoint.


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